A title like The Price of Love suggests romantic fiction, but in fact The Price of Love is simply one of the entries in a crime story collection by Peter Robinson that I’ve just listened to on an audio book. And it’s quite a dark story, too, with nothing Mills & Boon about it at all.
‘Like a Virgin’ is especially noteworthy. It fills in the gaps of DCI Alan Banks’ past life- the main events are told in flashback, and concern a seedy murder case which he investigated in his London days, before decamping to rural Yorkshire, and Eastvale. It’s a good story, although one of the key clues was startlingly easy to spot. I must say I do like the way in which short stories can expand our understanding of a character familiar from a long series of novels.
The collection is very varied, and it made for good listening. ‘Cornelius Jubb’ is set during the Second World War and deals with racial tensions, while ‘The Magic of Your Touch’ involves a supernatural element. Robinson is a very accomplished short story writer, and although - this is, I think, almost inevitable – the quality of the tales is a little uneven, overall they provide plenty of entertainment as well as sometimes provoking thought.
There was a varied cast of readers – a good idea – and it included a number of class acts, such as Neil Pearson, whose voice seems, somehow, very well suited to Robinson’s writing. I’ve enjoyed Pearson as an actor for years, and he makes an excellent reader.